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160830 Rhododendron leafhopper (2)

What dapper little critters these are, don’t you think? The fashionistas of the bug world in their pale-green orange-striped suits, with contrasting purple trim and coordinating pale yellow under-wear. No dull dark-grey pinstripes for these hoppers; they’re American immigrants and they’re happy to be noticed. It certainly makes them easy to identify, a huge bonus in the world of plant bugs!

160830 Rhododendron leafhopper (1)

Rhododendron leafhoppers (Graphocephala fennahi) were first introduced to Britain in the early 1900s and I was first introduced to them early last week, when walking a butterfly transect with a colleague, but I’ve been back twice to see them since then, just because they make me laugh. The ones in my pictures make their home in the rhododendron bushes in one small area of Cardiff’s Bute Park, and there are hundreds, if not thousands of them – so many, in fact, that you can actually hear the sproing as they flit from leaf to leaf. And, if you stand in front of the bushes, you’re in serious danger of straining your neck from watching them fly and spring back and forth. Yet another free entertainment package from Mother Nature (with a little voyeurism thrown in)!

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